Page images
PDF
EPUB

the final fyllable ed may be apostrophized without making the word harsh. Examples, betrayd, carryd, destroyd, employd.

The article next in order, is to consider the music of words as united in a period. And as the arrangement of words in succession so as to afford the greatest pleasure to the ear, depends on principles pretty remote from common view, it will be necessary to premise some general observations upon the effect that a number of objects have upon the mind when they are placed in an increasing or decreasing series. The effect of such a series will be very different, according as resemblance or contrast prevails. Where the members of a series vary by small differences, resemblance prevails; which, in ascending, makes us conceive the second object of no greater size than the first, the third of no greater size than the second, and so of the rest. This diminisheth in appearance the size of the whole. Again, when beginning at the . largest object, we proceed gradually to the least, resemblance makes us imagine the second as large as the first, and the third as VOL.II. Ii

large

large as the second; which in appearance magnifies every object of the series except the first. On the other hand, in a series varying by great differences, where contrast prevails, the effects are directly oppofite. A large object succeeding a small one of the same kind, appears by the opposition larger than usual: and a small object, for the same reason, succeeding one that is large, appears less than usual *. Hence a remarkable pleasure in viewing a series ascending by large intervals ; directly opposite to what we feel when the intervals are small. Beginning at the smallest object of a series where contrast prevails, this object has the same effect upon the mind as if it stood single without making a part of the series, But this is not the case of the fecond object, which by means of contrast makes a much greater figure than when viewed fingly and apart; and the fame effect is perceived in ascending progressively, till we arrive at the last object. The direct contrary effect is produced in descending; for in this direc

* See the reason, chap. 8.

1

CC

țion, every object; except the first, makes a less figure than when viewed separately and independent of the series. We may then lay down as a maxim, which will hold in the composition of language as well as of other subjects, That a strong impulse succeeding a weak, makes a double impresfion on the mind; and that a weak impulse succeeding a strong, makes scarce any imprefsion.

After establishing this maxim, we can be at no loss about its application to the subject in hand. The following rule is laid down by Diomedes *. " In verbis obser“ vandum est, ne a majoribus ad minora « descendat oratio ; melius enim dicitur, “ Vir est optimus, quam, Vir optimus est." This rule is applicable not only to single words, but equally to entire members of a period, which, according to our author's expression, ought not more than single words to proceed from the greater to the less, but from the less to the greater. In arranging the members of a period, no wri

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

ter equals Cicero. The beauty of the following examples out of many, will not sufs fer me to slur them over by a reference.

Quicum quæstor fueram,
Quicum me fors confuetudoque majorum,
Quicum me Deorum hominumque judicium con-

junxerat,

Again:

Habet honorem quem petimus,
Habet spem quam præpositam nobis habemus,
Habet existimationem, multo fudore, labore, vi-

gilüfque, collectam.

Again :

Eripite nos ex miferiis,
Eripite nos ex faucibus eorum,
Quorum crudelitas, nostro sanguine non poteft
expleri.

De oratore, l.i. $ 52.

This order of words or members gradually increasing in length, may, so far as concerns the pleasure of sound singly, be denominated a climax in found.

The

[ocr errors]

The last article is the music of periods as united in a discourse, which shall be dispatched in a very few words. By no other human means is it possible to present to the mind, such a number of objects and in so swift a succession, as by speaking or writing. And for that reason, variety ought more to be studied in these, than in any other fort of composition. Hence a rule regarding the arrangement of the members of different periods with relation to each other, That to avoid a tedious uniformity of found and cadence, the arrangement, the cadence, and the length of these members, ought to be diversified as much as possible. And if the members of different periods be sufficiently diversified, the periods themselves will be equally so.

2

SECT.

« PreviousContinue »